I don’t know a lot about the Bears, so I’m not going to get into how this makes things better for the Bears. All I know is he signed for 4 years, $32 million (or 3 years, $24 million; or just $15.5 million guaranteed) and he ostensibly replaces Julius Peppers.
What this means for the Seahawks is: we didn’t just waive Chris Clemons so we could turn around and give up all that money to someone like Jared Allen.
For the most part, I’m turned off by the whole “heart” argument when critiquing an athlete’s game. How much heart does a guy have? Does he care enough to be a winner? And so on and so forth. But, I’ll tell you this much: living in Seattle, rooting for Seattle teams, you tend to get used to seeing guys who are just playing for a paycheck. They’re different than the guys who care so much they keep sticking around the game long past their primes. These guys still have a marginal level of talent left in the tank, and in spite of earning huge multi-millions of dollars in their careers, they’re still all about selling themselves to the highest bidder. Winning doesn’t mean a thing to these people.
That’s why you hear about Jared Allen saying things like he’d rather retire if he’s not going to get the contract he feels he deserves. Some guys will take a little less to be in the perfect situation. Some guys actually care about contending for a Super Bowl and want to win that ring before they retire. Some guys will take less money on a short-term deal in order to earn themselves a bigger payday while still getting that shot at glory (knowing the better their team does around them, the better it will reflect upon them if they put up the season they’re capable of).
I’m not sitting here begrudging all guys their chance at getting a big score. I want deserving players to have enough money to provide for their children and their children’s children. But, as an athlete, shouldn’t your number one priority be winning a championship? Isn’t that what we all dreamed of as kids when we were out there playing touch football or pick-up basketball? Maybe that’s unrealistic for everyone. For instance, I can’t imagine a world where Jay Cutler is ever a world champion. And maybe, if you’re just a lower-tier player, you’ve got to think about providing for your family and can’t simply pick and choose which team you get to play for.
But, this is Jared Allen. He’s earned over $75 million in his NFL career. I should think he’s set for life and then some, but what do I know? Well, I know that Jared Allen has played for a non-stop parade of losers his entire career. I know that this is the first time he has ever been a free agent, and probably the allure of that got the better of him. But, Jared Allen had a chance to pick his destination. If he’d chosen the Seahawks, he would have earned a fraction of what he’ll make with the Bears. But, if he’d chosen the Seahawks, he’d be on one of the two best teams in all of football. I don’t care how tough our division is, the Seahawks STILL have a better chance of winning another Super Bowl in the next two years than the Bears do in the next three or four.
He also had a better chance of bolstering his stats. If winning a ring doesn’t do it for you, how about making the Hall of Fame? I dunno, maybe he’s a Hall of Famer right now, without playing another down. But, he certainly would have cleaned up on this team, given the talent on the line around him.
I have to wonder, though, is our division hindering our ability to bring guys in? Even a little bit? I know we have to be frugal with our money, with all the studs we have to re-sign soon. But, is there a particular reason (besides the increase in salary cap) that we’re not getting the type of discounts we were getting last year?
Yes, if you come to the Seahawks, you’re coming to a champion; but look at that road to get there! You have to go through the second-best team in football in the San Francisco 49ers. You’ll have to play the Panthers and Packers and Eagles. You’ll have to play the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers (all playoff teams from a year ago)! And, you’ve got the 10-win Cardinals and the up-and-coming Rams twice apiece as well.
Winning back-to-back Super Bowls isn’t easy. It’s especially not easy when you’re in the best division in football (NFC West), you’re playing the second-best division in football (AFC West), and you’re playing a champion’s schedule.